After the rainy travel days I had in Cebu, I was very blessed to be welcomed in Bohol with the brightest sun. Tropical typhoon had passed the eastern section of Visayas. It was indeed a different view in Bohol.
After all the rain in Cebu, the heat was scorching in Tagbilaran City! A very lovely scene to enjoy the remaining days of my backpacking adventure in Visayas.
How did I get there?
It was tough to travel when a typhoon is approaching. I had moments of doubt when I was in Cebu if I can cross to Bohol. I kept on watching over the Facebook page of OceanJet as they kept announcing cancelled boat trips. I even had a plan to stay one more day in Cebu if things will not worked out. It will be more expensive yet my safety is more important. I also thought of camping at the port area to wait for the boat trips.
After numerous tries in checking the Facebook page of OceanJet, they announced that all boat trips going to Bohol were resumed! I was blessed indeed that God allowed me to cross Bohol on the same date as planned.
After checking out in my AirBNB room in Cebu, I booked a Grab car going to the port. I was lucky to found out that my Grab driver dropped me off at the OceanJet ticket booth with lesser passengers queued to buy tickets. In just 15 minutes, I booked my boat ticket going to Bohol. While walking inside the port area, I saw another ticketing booth nearer the port gate. And oh no! More passengers were there! It was chaotic! Glad I found the right driver!
My boat trip was scheduled at 10:40 AM. It was a pleasant surprise that Cebu’s waiting area inside the port was actually very comfortable to stay. There were booths selling food and souvenir items. The area is fully air-conditioned. There was also a television prompting the schedules of boat trips. After less than 30 minutes of waiting. My boat arrived.
The boat I took is big and it seems can accommodate more than 200 passengers. Coast guards were there as well to check the security of the boat. Inside the boat, I have seated on a rattan chair with other passengers. The boat was not air-conditioned, perfect if you want to feel the ocean breeze. It was a smooth ride going to Bohol with the sun still shining with me. After an hour, I reached Tagbilaran City.
Where did I stayed?
When my boat arrived in Bohol, I looked for a tricycle to get me to my hostel. I booked a hostel via Booking.com prior my trip. I stayed at Stay Lite Bed and Breakfast. It was a bit far from Tagbilaran proper but very much closer to Tagbilaran Airport. I booked a private room in Bohol as I thought that I might do another staycation due to the rains. If the typhoon will take longer, I wanted to stay in a more comfortable room and just lay in bed while watching television. HAHAHA.
I was very much pleased with the hostel service most especially their food. They offer meals of all kind. I love the fruits served together with all the meals I ordered.
The staffs were very approachable too. I asked for their help to print me a document for work while I was there. One of the staffs also helped me to find a tricycle driver to take me the tourist spots of Bohol.
How did I get around the city?
I spent 3 days in Bohol and most it was travelled by foot and tricycle. Tagbilaran City is small yet compact with different scenery. I was blessed to witness Bohol after the storm. Tricycle rides made it easier for me.
It was also a view to see all the tricycles with Bible verses. It is a local government law to put a Bible verse in each cycles. Indeed, God is everywhere!
Where did I travelled?
Sun was shining brightly in Bohol after the storm. The hostel staff helped to find a tricycle driver to let me travel to different parts of Bohol. The hostel staff also suggested habal-habal but I was never a fan of motorcycle and to be more comfortable, a tricycle will do.
I haggled the price and we agreed for it. Locals call this trip as Countryside Tour. We started the tour by 10AM.
My first stop is the Tarsier Sanctuary. Bohol is famously known to have the littlest monkey specie called Tarsier. They are small nocturnal mammals. The sanctuary was full of trees.
A guide will help you to identify where you can spot the tarsiers. As I am alone, I just joined a group with their guide. I just followed them wherever they go so I can see the tarsiers.
It was my first time to see these mammals. Indeed, they are little with big eyes! Their eyes are very sensitive with light thus camera flashes are not allowed. It is also important to be quiet while inside the sanctuary as tarsiers were sleeping.
I spent 30 minutes inside the sanctuary. I was happy to see these tarsiers as History books are relived!
Butterfly Garden and Python Sanctuary
After the tarsier, there is another popular sanctuary in Bohol where you can see different kinds of butterflies and snakes.
The sanctuary is small compare with the Tarsier’s. Snakes were not my thing so I just enjoyed myself with the beautiful butterflies.
Some of the staffs from the sanctuary also helped tourists to take photos with the butterflies. I was lucky to had butterfly wings not just a stomach with butterflies. HAHAHA.
The Man-Made Forest in Bohol is a road full of trees planted by volunteers. The road is actually a highway with trucks and heavy vehicles passing by. It was a bit dangerous to take photos as cars and trucks passes by all the time.
You just need to be extra careful. My tricycle dropped by here for less than 10 minutes as we cannot stay longer. Dude, yes, there were trees but we were in the middle of the highway!
It felt very cool in this place. The breath of fresh air can still be felt even cars are passing by. It was lovely to be there for more minutes just to feel the coolness of the wind from the trees.
After some photo-taking, we hit the road again to complete our Countryside Tour.
A perfect time to have lunch! My driver took me to Loboc River to experience a cruise with buffet meal. I was a bit hesitant to join the cruise because of the expensive food. HAHAHA. Yet, I was already there to enjoy the moment, time to splurge sometimes! There were many choices from the buffet food including different kinds of dishes with pork, fish and chicken. There were also pancit, our local version of pasta with vegetable, plenty of juices but my favorite was the desserts!
It was just rightful to go back and forth from the buffet table to your own seat. After all, I paid for it. So I ate whatever I can still eat by that time! HAHAHA.
The boat can accommodate 10 to 12 tables. You can choose anywhere you want to seat. I was lucky to be one of the first passengers and seated on a good spot.
The boat also had a local band to entertain the passengers. They were singing local and foreign songs while we were eating. It was a happy moment for me as I have combined eating, seating and relaxing in just one time! 🙂
The cruise took about an hour. Aside from the local band inside the boat, we stopped by on a platform with other local performers. Happy to see that this tradition of being hospitable is still being practiced. At the end of the cruise, there was a small waterfall. We stopped by in a few minutes and headed back to the city.
After the sumptuous lunch at Loboc River, we drove to the famous Chocolate Hills! It was more than 30 minutes of drive from the river. The Chocolate Hills were declared as a unique geological landform found in Carmen, Bohol. It was said that the Hills were formed ages ago by the uplift of coral deposits and the action of rainwater and erosion.
These Hills are scattered through the town of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan consisting of 1,268 mounds of hills with almost the same shape. From then on, the Hills turned to color brown every summer, naming these landmarks as Chocolate Hills. Now, it is very famous all over the world.
I was mesmerized to see the Hills up-close! How can these hills be done just like these? They look small yet very good looking! Like an almond chocolate from above!
Another place was ticked off my bucket list! ❤
Bamboo Hanging Bridge
I actually do not know why I went there! HAHA. I am not a fan of a bridges especially if I can see that it is tearing down or whatsoever but my driver convinced me to stop by. There were two bamboo bridges to cross. I tried to cross the bridge but God I was afraid! HAHAHA.
Locals told that the bamboo bridges are strong enough to carry people, it even surpassed some typhoons. But I guess, I am the typhoon that these bridges cannot surpassed.
So, I just take some photos and check how the other tourists cross the bridge and left the attraction area. Not my thing, really. HAHAHA.
La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church, famously known as Baclayon Church is one of the oldest church in the Philippines. It was built on 1596 by Jesuits in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The Church resides in the seaside of Baclayon. It has been an icon of faith and treasure in Visayas region ever since the Church has been built.
However in 2013, Baclayon Church was severely damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. As of last year, I have seen some part of the Church which are being renovated.
It was a pleasure to see this old church as a manifestation of faith. I also had a chance to visit the museum inside the Church. Cameras were not allowed inside the museum but believe me, it was a goose bump experience. The old artifact inside the museum feels very of a Spanish time. Then, they also dimmed the place. It was dark then old things will surround you.
Inside the Church itself, the beautiful painting in the ceiling delighted me. It was a masterpiece!
After less than an hour inside the Church, time to drop by at our last stop.
Sandugo or Blood Compact Shrine
The Sandugo statues were created by the famous artist Napoleon Abueva whom is a Boholano and declared as a National Artist of the Philippines. The bronze sculpture is completed in 1999 and commemorates the significant of a historic event between the friendship of Rajah Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez De Legazpi.
The Blood Compact between Sikatuna and Miguel was considered as a treaty of international friendship between two different races, religion, culture and civilization. It was a pact based on respect and equality.
When I visited the place, the Shrine is being renovated thus I haven’t seen it on its glorious view. It might be a good time to take photo as the bronze sculpture background is the ocean. Nonetheless, to be with this historical monument in Bohol is better.
After seeing the Sandugo, my Countryside Tour ended. My driver dropped me off at my hostel. We finished the tour before 4PM.
It was my second day in Bohol when I travelled to Alona Beach. Alona Beach is part of Panglao Island. It is a small island nearby Tagbilaran. Panglao Island can be crossed from Tagbilaran in less than 5 minutes. This island is popular for its pristine beaches with white sands. Tourists also visit Panglao for island hopping and seasonal for whale sharks.
It was a sunny day in my stay in Bohol when I went to Alona Beach. I did a DIY travel here. No guides, no directions. I was just following all the street signage. It was also not part of my day to swim in the beach, I just wanted to see a beach. HAHAHA.
From my hostel, I took a tricycle going to Island City Mall. There was a public transportation terminal beside the mall going to Alona Beach. As I waited the jeepney to fill in with passengers, it took me an hour to get to Alona Beach. Jeepney passes by exactly at Alona Beach so it was a quick way going there. Most probably, the travel time will take 30 minutes only from Tagbilaran. I also found out that there was an air-conditioned bus going to Alona Beach which is more convenient.
Upon arriving at the beach, the sun was still shining brightly. The beachfront of Alona was comprised of restaurants and houses for rent. The beach is very much cozy for me as there were fewer tourists by the time I was there.
Since I do not had any plans to dip in to the sea and I haven’t took additional clothes, I was at Alona Beach to mesmerize the blue sea and clear sky.
It was a fun day to have unplanned travels and just have your own phase.
San Augustine Church
After my beach stroll in Alona, I took a tricycle going to San Augustine Church. The original church was built by the Recolletos from the time they took over Panglao Island.
This Church is famous for its ceiling painting and carvings. As for me, yes, it was really amazing. The paintings was meticulously made. The carvings of each halls were gloriously shaped.
I spent an hour in San Augustine Church to say a prayer and just relax. The cool breeze from the trees were relaxing. It was indeed a beautiful day in Panglao.
After visiting Panglao Island, I headed my way to Tagbilaran. Luckily, the new air-conditioned bus stopped by in front of San Augustine Church so I had a direct commute going back to the city. The air-conditioned bus terminal is also near in Island City Mall. If you will commute to Panglao, just ask the driver if the bus with signage Tunga City will drop you off in Alona Beach. This is the same bus I took going there.
Adding some tip on your visit in Panglao, it is better to buy souvenir items from the mall instead from the pasalubong stores outside. I bought a bunch of peanut kisses in Alona Beach for Php 200 + and got it from the mall for Php 150 only! What a bargain! 🙂
After some days in Bohol, I had a true vacation called life. Life here is very much simple, less crowded from Cebu. I guess the sunny weather also added a flair in my stay in Bohol. It was a relaxing feeling to visit a province I just read before from my History books.
Salamat, Bohol! ❤